Everyone’s favorite summertime dessert gets an extra fun kick with this chocolate-amaretto ice cream! An ultra creamy, luscious chocolate ice cream base is elevated with rich Italian amaretto liqueur to make one unforgettable treat. After one bite, you’ll never need another chocolate ice cream recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
That nutty depth of flavor and ultra creamy texture: Amaretto adds a delightful almond flavor that pairs well with chocolate. Plus, adding a liqueur to the ice cream base lowers the freezing point, which makes for an even creamier treat. If you’ve made my bourbon-pumpkin ice cream, you know that ultra luscious texture I’m talking about – so good!
The most decadent chocolate ice cream base: With a heaping addition of rich cocoa powder, we get an intensely chocolate-flavored ice cream. You’ll want to use this base recipe for all your chocolate ice creams, and you can easily add in your own favorite mix-ins.
Perfect make-ahead dessert: Entertaining is always easier when a make-ahead dish is involved, and ice cream is perfect for that. In fact, everything needs to be prepared ahead of time for freezing, so your hosting duties are as simple as can be.
Given that ice cream is great for entertaining, you can’t have too many recipes in your back pocket. Make sure you also try my Biscoff ice cream, Oreo cookie ice cream, s’mores ice cream and honey-lavender ice cream!
Before we get started, let’s chat through a couple of ingredient notes for this delicious chocolate-amaretto ice cream recipe.
Amaretto: This is a sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur. Some people also know it as Disarrono, which is the most popular brand of amaretto.
Cocoa powder: You can use natural cocoa powder or Dutch-process cocoa powder. Natural cocoa powder is more commonly found here in the States. I like to use Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark.
Whole milk: I specifically recommend whole milk, not a lower-fat variety. Hey, homemade ice cream is about indulging, so we need the good stuff here.
Heavy cream: Like above, please don’t skimp and use half and half. We want the full heavy whipping cream for the most luscious texture.
Egg yolks: This recipe uses seven egg yolks, not the whites. Yes, it’s a lot of egg yolks, but that’s what gives this ice cream such a velvety bite.
Vanilla and almond extracts: Usually I just add vanilla extract to my ice cream recipes, but I just love how this adds a little extra richness and almond flavor to complement the amaretto.
Step 1: The first step for our amaretto ice cream is to whisk together heavy cream, milk, sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Initially, the mixture will clump up (photo 1). Don’t panic. Just keep whisking and it will smooth out (photo 2). We keep cooking until the mixture simmers, turn off the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, we constantly whisk together those seven egg yolks with the vanilla and almond extracts (photo 3). About three minutes will do.
Step 3: For our next step, we ladle in a small scoop of the warm cream mixture into the eggs (photo 4) and whisk. We repeat the process until we add about half the chocolate mixture into the eggs (photo 5). This is called tempering.
Step 4: Then, we pour the tempered eggs back into the saucepan with the remaining chocolate mixture (photo 6) and cook the custard until it's thick enough to coat a wooden spoon like so (photo 7).
Step 5: From here, we carefully pour the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cold (photo 8).
Step 6: Once the ice cream mixture is nice and cold, we churn it in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. In the last couple minutes of churning, we add the amaretto liqueur (photo 9).
Step 7: After churning, we pour the amaretto ice cream into an air-tight freezer container (photo 10) and freeze until firm.
In just a few hours, we will have the most luscious chocolate-amaretto ice cream. For an extra decadent touch, drizzle with my favorite bourbon caramel sauce or homemade praline sauce and serve with amaretti cookies. Some hot chocolate fudge would also taste delightful with that amaretto flavor. You and your guests won’t be able to get enough!
Yes, you must allow the ice cream base to fully chill before it goes in the ice cream maker, so plan for additional chilling time. If you try to churn the base before it’s cold, it will not set up. This step is absolutely non-negotiable.
Expect to chill the ice cream base for a minimum of four hours, though I recommend chilling it overnight. This also allows us to take care of most preparation work well ahead of serving for easy entertaining.
Keep the ice cream in the freezer in an airtight, freezer-safe container. The airtight container is crucial. Air will cause ice crystals to form and ruin the texture and lifespan of our ice cream. Don’t just cover the container in plastic wrap. It needs a freezer-safe, sealable container.
If stored correctly, homemade ice cream should last about two weeks in the freezer. Of course, this decadent chocolate-amaretto ice cream is so wonderful that I would be shocked if it lasted that long, but it does have some staying power.
Not a big chocolate fan? Simply leave out the cocoa powder. You’ll have a delicious straight amaretto ice cream, similar to my Baileys ice cream.
On the other hand, if you can’t get enough chocolate, you can add chocolate chips in the same style of mint chocolate chip ice cream. I prefer this to regular chocolate chips because it’s much more delicate that a hard, frozen chocolate chip. You can check out my mint-chocolate chip ice cream for directions.
If you like an ice cream with a crunch, add in some toasted almonds at the very end of churning. About 1 cup will do.
Both chocolate and amaretto pair nicely with cherries. You could serve with a cherry topping or turn this into a cherry-amaretto ice cream recipe by adding 1 cup of chopped cherries into the custard base while churning. Maraschino cherries work for a sweeter addition, or you could use fresh cherries, which would be my preference.
Even the sugar is interchangeable. Swap white sugar for brown sugar for an added richness with its molasses flavor.
Do not ever let the ice cream base boil. Keep it at a simmer. If it boils, the milk can separate.
Make sure you only add the amaretto in the last minute or two during churning. The alcohol can cause the ice cream to not set up properly if you add it right away.
When covering the custard with plastic wrap, make sure it directly touches the surface. This helps prevent a film for forming.
Do not skip the tempering process and add all the hot cream mixture at once. This can scramble the eggs. I’m positive you don’t want scrambled egg ice cream.
With a rich chocolate ice cream, you’ll love an imperial stout, which has a roasted malt backbone that pairs well with chocolate. This type of stout is also high ABV, and that gives it some residual sweetness to make it perfect with desserts.
If you’d prefer a wine, grab a nice port. Ruby ports are classic with chocolate desserts, and the berry notes of the port are lovely with the cocoa. At the same time, a tawny port can even work here. Tawny ports show off nutty, caramel and toffee flavors that match beautifully with the amaretto. You could even try a side-by-side pairing here, and if you do, let me know what you think!
For a fun cocktail, my Italian margarita is perfect. The Italian margarita is flavored with amaretto, so they nicely complement each other.
When you need the most decadent, luscious ice cream, look no further than this chocolate-amaretto ice cream. You will adore every spoonful.
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Chocolate-Amaretto Ice Cream
- Medium saucepan
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Ice cream machine
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons amaretto
- Whisk together the heavy cream, milk, sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to whisk periodically to help dissolve the sugar and incorporate the cocoa powder. Once it simmers, turn off heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Do not bring to a boil as this can cause the milk to separate.
- Whisk egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract until pale for about three minutes.
- Temper the yolks by adding about ¼ to ½ cup of warm cream mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat this step a few times.
- Add tempered egg-cream mixture back to the pot. Whisk constantly over medium heat and bring back to a simmer. Again, do not boil. Cook until mixture thickens and covers the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off heat.
- Pour into a large bowl, and then directly cover the top of the custard's surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least four hours to ensure proper churning, though I recommend overnight if possible.
- Pour custard in an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions. In the last couple minutes of churning, add the amaretto to the ice cream machine.
- Pour the churned ice cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm for several hours before serving. Enjoy!
- Do not ever let the ice cream base boil. Keep it at a simmer. If it boils, the milk can separate.
- Make sure you only add the amaretto in the last minute or two during churning. The alcohol can cause the ice cream to not set up properly if you add it right away.
- I find 2 tablespoons of amaretto is perfect, but feel free to taste and add another tablespoon or two while churning if you'd like a stronger amaretto flavor.
- When covering the custard with plastic wrap, make sure it directly touches the surface. This helps prevent a film for forming.
- Do not skip the tempering process and add all the hot cream mixture at once. This can scramble the eggs. I’m positive you don’t want scrambled egg ice cream.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.